"The weak lose themselves in God; the strong discover Him in themselves." ~ Allama Iqbal

Monday, January 21, 2013

Perfecting One's Inheritance

Today (January 21, 2013), in the United States, there is a federal holiday recognizing the birth of Martin Luther King Jr. (who was born on January 15, 1929).  Martin Luther King Jr. spoke incisively about the need for humankind to stand up straight, and the psychological consequences of failing to escape to yoke of power-over authority.  He stated:

"We must straighten our backs and work for our freedom.  A man can't ride you unless your back is bent."

Allama Iqbal wrote in Baal-i-Jibreel something that speaks to an awakening that would surely birth a straight path.  

"I fear not the darkness of the night;
My nature is bred in purity and light;
Wayfarer of the night! Be a lamp to thyself;
With thy passion’s flame, make thy darkness bright."

And then there is Tierno Bokar, a Muslim sufi who was born in Segou, Mali, and lived during the French colonial rule.  He speaks to a subject which both Iqbal and King would have appreciated.

"Some believe that to develop is to break completely with all of one's traditions, often through 'snobbism,' in order to adopt those of a race whose ways one admire.  For us, to develop is to perfect our inheritance, which is not made up merely of our homes and our fields: it is also to improve our thinking, our entire way of being.

That which fits in a country of temperate climate cannot entirely suit a tropical country.  We see our Soudanese children copying Arabs or Europeans more or less awkwardly according to their upbringing.  They are like those waterfalls that expend themselves in rushing uselessly over slabs of stone without ever flowing into a lake to ease their mad and fruitless course."

~ Tierno Bokar (from the highly recommended, A Spirit of Tolerance: The Inspiring Life of Tierno Bokar, by Amadou Hampate Ba)

Although these great persons were seemingly speaking to a specific people, about specific conditions, they were really speaking to all of humanityMay the message of these messengers find a home in hearts, and grow there.

* * * * * * * * *

Notable Link: http://www.tiernobokar.columbia.edu/pdfs/estienne_bokar.pdf


  1. This is a very interesting post,Robert,very useful too.Thank you for this.

    1. Dear Ranu,

      Thank you for your visit. I do like finding wisdom wherever it shows itself.

      All good wishes,


  2. Greetings dear Robert,

    Wonderful post! Wow, I absolutely love these quotes by Sir Allama Iqbal and Tierno Bokar. This is really something to think about! It reminds of something I read today by Shams Tabrizi:

    “To get closer to Truth and Right, we need a beautiful and soft heart. Every human learns one day or another to become softer. Some accidentally, some because of disease, some suffer from human loss, some other from material loss … We all face these situations, but we can either see the good in it and open our hearts, or unfortunately see an another occasion to lock it forever.” (Shams Tabrizi)

    Thank you for sharing your amazing insights with us!

    God bless,

    1. Dear Shaidi,

      Thank you for your visit here, and for sharing this wonderful quote. I strived, with Martin Luther King Jr., Allama Iqbal, and Tierno Bokar, to depict what your quote from Shams Tabrizi conveys...getting closer to Truth and Right.

      It seems that they all speak in the same direction, though in different cultural milieu, under different challenges, and in a different language. Whether it's racism, colonialism, or simply the small demanding self, something must be seen through for the Truth to be found.

      All good wishes,


  3. Robert, this is wonderful insight from Tierno Bokar, and it shows how we all areone great community, despite race, color, creed and religious differences the core aspirations and ideals are same.

    1. Greetings Sir,

      Thank you for your visit.

      I very much like Tierno Bokar.

      He said, in reference to what you share here: "We bitterly deplore the contemptuous attitude of certain religious people that leads them to reject as though cacophonous their neighbour’s hymns. To combat this tendency, brothers in God, whatever the religion to which you are attached, meditate deeply on this verse: 'The creations of the heavens and of the earth, the diversity of your tongues and of your colours are so many marvels for those who can reflect.' (Quran 30:22)."

      All good wishes,